I can still remember the day that I submitted my application for the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. My hands and breath shook as I sat with my sophomore year English teacher and my friend, Emma Spinks. We had filled out our applications and written our essays together during after-school meetings. The two of us had been planning for this since we were in eighth grade. Although both of us were interested in artistic careers, we were bored of the ordinary school day that our current high school had to offer.

     “Are you ready?” Emma asked from the desk on my left.

     “I guess so,” I responded.

      We counted down from three and clicked the submit button together. One year later, the two of us would be sitting together in our AP Biology class with Dr. Gibson. I couldn’t help but smile at how far we had come.

      From the moment I stepped on campus for my first preview day back in 2018, I knew that MSMS was where I belonged. I wanted a new challenge, to not just sit in a classroom every day but to learn something new with each passing hour. I remember sitting in on a trigonometry class with Dr. Benge and learning more in those thirty minutes than I had in a semester at my home school. From there, I started reaching out to current students, meeting with teachers and administration, and preparing to fill out the application. Everyone I talked to was so kind and encouraging, genuinely wanting me to do my best. I knew undoubtedly that MSMS, despite its untraditional style, was the high school experience I wanted. There was only one drawback, I would be losing the drama club at my home high school.

       Around the same time that I started applying to MSMS, I decided that I wanted to major in technical theatre, not in a STEM field. I had worked for the last three years building up my old drama club, and we had just placed at the regional level for the first time, and it seemed to only be getting better for us. I was worried that I would be subjecting myself to a lesser program in
the field I wanted to study if I left. That same preview day, I was told to talk to Dr. Easterling about my fears. He was in charge of the drama club and all things theatre at MSMS. My mom and I sat down across from him in the iconic circle of desks in classroom 104.

       I told Dr. E that if I came to MSMS, I would want the drama club to compete and do a musical. He told me that it had been years since the theatre program had done either of those things but that if I took enough charge to get it done, then he’d do it. As of right now, we are two
weeks into rehearsals for the spring musical, and we won five awards at our regional competition.

       To me, that is the beauty of MSMS. The school motto is “an opportunity for excellence,” and I have found this to be exceedingly true. There are many opportunities to further yourself in your passion and career, as long as you are willing to take them. Every teacher and classmate wants to help you become successful. So many of my friends and peers have offered to fundraise, build the set, and audition for the drama club simply because they know how happy it makes me when the school participates in my art form. This year alone, I have played sports I never had an interest in, participated in trivia about things that I don’t know, and taken classes I thought I wouldn’t enjoy. I have had so much fun getting to explore the wide variety of interests that each fellow student has.

     It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you have no place at a school brimming with intelligence and intellect, but the truth is, everyone at MSMS is here for a reason. Each student is incredibly knowledgeable in such different fields of study. My friend group comprises so many smart and talented people who want to be writers, engineers, and architects. There is a stereotypical MSMS student because everyone attends this school for a different reason. The one thing we all have in common is a want to learn more. If you’re nervous that you are smart enough or are too artistic for a place called the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, I encourage you to leave those fears behind. This is a school for those in pursuit of knowledge, and any mind willing to learn has a place here.